Special Report

Where People From California Are Moving to the Most

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The COVID-19 pandemic managed to do something to California that earthquakes, wildfires, and high taxes couldn’t: It caused the nation’s most populous and economically powerful state to lose population to other parts of the country. (These are the cities Americans are abandoning.)

Last year, the state’s population declined from 39,648,994 in January 2020 to 39,466,917 a year later. While that’s admittedly only a slight decline of 0.46%, it represents the state’s first demographic retreat in more than a century, according to the New York Times. Most of that loss occurred in the latter half of 2020, during the worst of the pandemic. 

This decline is expected to be a one-year blip, according to state finance officials, who have said they expect a slight rebound in growth moving forward. Nevertheless, the change recorded in the 2020 Census was enough for California to lose a congressional seat for the first time. 

Even if it hasn’t previously declined, however, California’s population growth has been slowing dramatically year after year. The Public Policy Institute of California, citing state government data, reports that California’s population grew by only 6.5% from 2010 to 2020 — less than the national average of 6.7%. Were it not for the 1.5 million legal international immigrants who moved into the state over the course of that decade, California’s population would have declined earlier. (Here’s how every state’s population has changed since 2010.)

Where are the people who move out of California going?” To find out, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed state-to-state migration flows from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, revealing the number of people living in other states (or Washington D.C.) in 2019 who had lived in California the previous year. State population and population change figures are based on one-year estimates from the ACS (five-year estimates for Washington D.C.). Note that our list does not include California (for obvious reasons). All rankings are out of a universe of 49 states and the District of Columbia.  

Click here to see where people from California are moving to the most

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50. Delaware
> People from California who moved to Delaware in 2019: 161 (0.02% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +6,593 (+0.7% — 14th largest)
> Total population: 973,764 (7th smallest)

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49. North Dakota
> People from California who moved to North Dakota in 2019: 404 (0.1% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +1,985 (+0.3% — 24th largest)
> Total population: 762,062 (5th smallest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

48. West Virginia
> People from California who moved to West Virginia in 2019: 940 (0.1% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -13,685 (-0.8% — 2nd smallest)
> Total population: 1,792,147 (14th smallest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

47. Vermont
> People from California who moved to Vermont in 2019: 1,048 (0.2% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -2,310 (-0.4% — 5th smallest)
> Total population: 623,989 (2nd smallest)

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

46. New Hampshire
> People from California who moved to New Hampshire in 2019: 1,110 (0.2% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +3,253 (+0.2% — 25th largest)
> Total population: 1,359,711 (11th smallest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

45. Maine
> People from California who moved to Maine in 2019: 1,644 (0.3% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +5,808 (+0.4% — 19th largest)
> Total population: 1,344,212 (10th smallest)

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44. South Dakota
> People from California who moved to South Dakota in 2019: 1,778 (0.3% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +2,424 (+0.3% — 22nd largest)
> Total population: 884,659 (6th smallest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

43. Rhode Island
> People from California who moved to Rhode Island in 2019: 1,854 (0.3% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +2,046 (+0.2% — 24th smallest)
> Total population: 1,059,361 (8th smallest)

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

42. Nebraska
> People from California who moved to Nebraska in 2019: 2,035 (0.3% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +5,140 (+0.3% — 23rd largest)
> Total population: 1,934,408 (15th smallest)

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41. Alaska
> People from California who moved to Alaska in 2019: 2,547 (0.4% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -5,893 (-0.8% — the smallest)
> Total population: 731,545 (4th smallest)

Source: maxmironov / Getty Images

40. Mississippi
> People from California who moved to Mississippi in 2019: 3,024 (0.5% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -10,381 (-0.3% — 6th smallest)
> Total population: 2,976,149 (18th smallest)

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39. Wyoming
> People from California who moved to Wyoming in 2019: 3,211 (0.5% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +1,022 (+0.2% — 22nd smallest)
> Total population: 578,759 (the smallest)

Source: alexeys / Getty Images

38. Kentucky
> People from California who moved to Kentucky in 2019: 3,410 (0.5% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -729 (-0.02% — 15th smallest)
> Total population: 4,467,673 (25th largest)

Source: Matt Anderson / iStock via Getty Images

37. District of Columbia
> People from California who moved to District of Columbia in 2019: 3,437 (0.5% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +8,185 (+1.2% — 6th largest)
> Total population: 692,683 (3rd smallest)

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Source: BlazenImages / Getty Images

36. Alabama
> People from California who moved to Alabama in 2019: 3,690 (0.6% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +15,314 (+0.3% — 21st largest)
> Total population: 4,903,185 (23rd largest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

35. Connecticut
> People from California who moved to Connecticut in 2019: 4,049 (0.6% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -7,378 (-0.2% — 10th smallest)
> Total population: 3,565,287 (23rd smallest)

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Source: Jaimie Tuchman / Getty Images

34. Louisiana
> People from California who moved to Louisiana in 2019: 4,228 (0.6% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -11,184 (-0.2% — 9th smallest)
> Total population: 4,648,794 (24th largest)

Source: ricardoreitmeyer / Getty Images

33. Kansas
> People from California who moved to Kansas in 2019: 4,957 (0.8% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +1,804 (+0.1% — 18th smallest)
> Total population: 2,913,314 (17th smallest)

Source: BlazenImages / Getty Images

32. Arkansas
> People from California who moved to Arkansas in 2019: 4,967 (0.8% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +3,979 (+0.1% — 20th smallest)
> Total population: 3,017,804 (19th smallest)

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31. Montana
> People from California who moved to Montana in 2019: 5,298 (0.8% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +6,473 (+0.6% — 16th largest)
> Total population: 1,068,778 (9th smallest)

Source: LarryLindell / Getty Images

30. Iowa
> People from California who moved to Iowa in 2019: 5,819 (0.9% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -1,075 (-0.03% — 14th smallest)
> Total population: 3,155,070 (21st smallest)

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Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

29. New Mexico
> People from California who moved to New Mexico in 2019: 5,915 (0.9% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +1,401 (+0.1% — 19th smallest)
> Total population: 2,096,829 (16th smallest)

Source: LIKE HE / Getty Images

28. Minnesota
> People from California who moved to Minnesota in 2019: 6,232 (1.0% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +28,453 (+0.5% — 18th largest)
> Total population: 5,639,632 (21st largest)

Source: JamesBrey / iStock via Getty Images

27. Wisconsin
> People from California who moved to Wisconsin in 2019: 6,886 (1.1% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +8,866 (+0.2% — 21st smallest)
> Total population: 5,822,434 (19th largest)

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Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

26. Indiana
> People from California who moved to Indiana in 2019: 7,255 (1.1% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +40,341 (+0.6% — 17th largest)
> Total population: 6,732,219 (16th largest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

25. Oklahoma
> People from California who moved to Oklahoma in 2019: 7,408 (1.1% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +13,892 (+0.4% — 20th largest)
> Total population: 3,956,971 (24th smallest)

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

24. South Carolina
> People from California who moved to South Carolina in 2019: 7,785 (1.2% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +64,587 (+1.3% — 5th largest)
> Total population: 5,148,714 (22nd largest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

23. Missouri
> People from California who moved to Missouri in 2019: 7,970 (1.2% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +10,976 (+0.2% — 23rd smallest)
> Total population: 6,137,428 (17th largest)

Source: ehrlif / Getty Images

22. Michigan
> People from California who moved to Michigan in 2019: 8,672 (1.3% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -9,058 (-0.1% — 12th smallest)
> Total population: 9,986,857 (9th largest)

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21. New Jersey
> People from California who moved to New Jersey in 2019: 9,155 (1.4% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -26,330 (-0.3% — 8th smallest)
> Total population: 8,882,190 (10th largest)

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

20. Maryland
> People from California who moved to Maryland in 2019: 10,092 (1.5% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +2,962 (+0.05% — 17th smallest)
> Total population: 6,045,680 (18th largest)

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Source: Adam-Springer / Getty Images

19. Hawaii
> People from California who moved to Hawaii in 2019: 10,954 (1.7% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -4,619 (-0.3% — 7th smallest)
> Total population: 1,415,872 (12th smallest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

18. Massachusetts
> People from California who moved to Massachusetts in 2019: 11,430 (1.7% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -9,646 (-0.1% — 11th smallest)
> Total population: 6,892,503 (14th largest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

17. Tennessee
> People from California who moved to Tennessee in 2019: 11,874 (1.8% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +59,164 (+0.9% — 12th largest)
> Total population: 6,829,174 (15th largest)

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16. Ohio
> People from California who moved to Ohio in 2019: 12,277 (1.9% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -342 (-0.003% — 16th smallest)
> Total population: 11,689,100 (6th largest)

Source: Shunyu Fan / E+ via Getty Images

15. Pennsylvania
> People from California who moved to Pennsylvania in 2019: 13,048 (2.0% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -5,071 (-0.04% — 13th smallest)
> Total population: 12,801,989 (4th largest)

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14. Illinois
> People from California who moved to Illinois in 2019: 14,692 (2.2% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -69,259 (-0.5% — 3rd smallest)
> Total population: 12,671,821 (5th largest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

13. Georgia
> People from California who moved to Georgia in 2019: 15,437 (2.4% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +97,948 (+0.9% — 11th largest)
> Total population: 10,617,423 (7th largest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

12. Virginia
> People from California who moved to Virginia in 2019: 16,994 (2.6% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +17,834 (+0.2% — 25th smallest)
> Total population: 8,535,519 (11th largest)

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11. Idaho
> People from California who moved to Idaho in 2019: 17,722 (2.7% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +32,857 (+1.9% — the largest)
> Total population: 1,787,065 (13th smallest)

Source: Adventure_Photo / Getty Images

10. Utah
> People from California who moved to Utah in 2019: 17,821 (2.7% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +44,853 (+1.4% — 4th largest)
> Total population: 3,205,958 (22nd smallest)

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Source: RickSause / Getty Images

9. North Carolina
> People from California who moved to North Carolina in 2019: 18,023 (2.8% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +104,464 (+1.0% — 10th largest)
> Total population: 10,488,084 (8th largest)

Source: FilippoBacci / Getty Images

8. New York
> People from California who moved to New York in 2019: 24,332 (3.7% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: -88,648 (-0.5% — 4th smallest)
> Total population: 19,453,561 (3rd largest)

Source: marchello74 / Getty Images

7. Florida
> People from California who moved to Florida in 2019: 28,628 (4.4% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +178,412 (+0.8% — 13th largest)
> Total population: 21,477,737 (2nd largest)

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Source: Planet Unicorn / Getty Images

6. Colorado
> People from California who moved to Colorado in 2019: 29,350 (4.5% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +63,172 (+1.1% — 7th largest)
> Total population: 5,758,736 (20th largest)

Source: 4nadia / Getty Images

5. Oregon
> People from California who moved to Oregon in 2019: 37,927 (5.8% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +27,024 (+0.6% — 15th largest)
> Total population: 4,217,737 (25th smallest)

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4. Washington
> People from California who moved to Washington in 2019: 46,791 (7.2% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +79,302 (+1.1% — 8th largest)
> Total population: 7,614,893 (12th largest)

Source: 4kodiak / Getty Images

3. Nevada
> People from California who moved to Nevada in 2019: 47,322 (7.2% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +45,764 (+1.5% — 2nd largest)
> Total population: 3,080,156 (20th smallest)

Source: tonda / Getty Images

2. Arizona
> People from California who moved to Arizona in 2019: 59,713 (9.1% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +107,071 (+1.5% — 3rd largest)
> Total population: 7,278,717 (13th largest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

1. Texas
> People from California who moved to Texas in 2019: 82,235 (12.6% of all outbound Californians)
> 1-year net population change: +294,036 (+1.0% — 9th largest)
> Total population: 28,995,881 (the largest)

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